I repeatedly get asked the question as to why I fall into the infertility category when I’ve conceived in the past without any medical assistance. It wasn’t until 2015 (almost two years after my miscarriage) that I finally got the answer myself… ‘Unexplained Infertility.’ Not quite the diagnosis I had been expecting as it clearly explained absolutely nothing. It didn’t make my journey any easier, nor did it bring me any kind of closure.
I get the feeling that when most people hear the word infertility or that a couple are seeking medical assistance, they automatically think there is something medically wrong. Now, I may just be making a huge assumption like the people I’ve just mentioned or, I’m actually right. Truth is, before I came face to face with the reality of my challenge, I thought that there had to be something medically wrong with one person for anyone to be seeking help and, I had never heard of Unexplained Infertility.
I recently had a conversation with someone who has been trying for over two years for her second child. It was heart-breaking to see how stressed she was and I quickly had to push away the thoughts of “what if this happens to me?”- It wasn’t about me… I was also very sad for her because the NHS had told her that they will only offer help to those who have never given birth before… Her case was Secondary Infertility…
There are two types of infertility (although, I think ‘Unexplained should be a third, so I’ll add it on )
- Primary infertility – Someone who has never conceived a child in the past and has difficulty conceiving. According to the NHS, 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving
- Secondary infertility – Someone who has had one or more pregnancies in the past and is having difficulty conceiving again.
- Unexplained infertility – Where the standard testing for infertility cannot give the doctors a diagnosis as to why someone has been unable to conceive.
Like me, she was told to keep on trying and not worry too much seeing as she had conceived in the past. If anything, it statements like that that make you even more stressed out. We spoke about some of the views of society and concluded that she was doing the right thing in seeking help and not being bothered by the views of those who felt she should be thankful for the child she had already been blessed with.
Here in England, your GP will do all they can to explore (or experiment as I like to call it) different things before giving you that precious referral letter (in my experience and others I have spoken to). They may ask you to try different medications, change and keep a diary of your diet for a period of time to monitor any changes. I was lucky to have met a very nice female Gynaecologist who told me it was my right to demand to be referred after over a year of being told “you’re young, what’s the rush” and “you have conceived before so we know there is no problem, it’s just taking a bit longer than you’d like…”
I remember the first time hubby and I sought help… we found out we were expecting a few days after our long awaited first appointment. The doctors comment went something along the lines of “that’s what happens when you stop thinking about it and relax.” I do remember thinking that our wait would be over once we started whatever treatment they suggested so, maybe there was some truth in his statement. What I then realised later in our journey was that “relaxing” during such a difficult time was extremely hard.
For anyone who is struggling with primary, secondary or unexplained infertility, please speak out and visit a health professional who will hopefully point you in the right direction of the options you have. If you have been trying to conceive for over a year (under 35) or 6 months (over 35), then it’s definitely time to at least explore what might be happening. I would definitely recommend doing research before your appointment so you have an idea of what tests/investigations and treatments you can explore.
Be Encouraged, Be Expectant